Alright, it isn’t exactly in Dubai Mall. It is at Souq Al Bahar, but I mean it is considered Dubai Mall in a way, just right across.
I haven’t eaten there before and thought i’d give it a try and the weather is just beautiful for outdoor meals. Unfortunately at the time of this review a lot of restaurants in Dubai Mall have shisha restrictions, and Zahr El Laymoun was recommended. Recommend me a restaurant? sure about that? alrighty…
The place is very warm, it is actually to the left of the crossing bridge. So to most of the restaurant, the fountains aren’t seen but there are lovely tables by the water overlooking the mall and The Address.
They have two levels of outdoor seating, and indoor tables as well. We sat on an upper level with the view seen above. Absolutely stunning. When we walked in a server came to us asking if we wanted a table and had told us the tables on the bottom level were all full and there were a few lovely tables on the top. When we arrived there another server welcomed us and showed us the empty tables. Simple straight forward service.
I guess the appeal is to have everything right there, but still was rather larSoon after ordering the food they started to arrange things and set the table up.
For us, they had placed the table setting with the plate, fork and knife. The thing is, I like to keep a keen eye and I could see little chips on plates and glasses which I think shouldn’t be served. I mean I understand this kind of thing happens and maybe it isn’t cost effective to throw away a plate when it gets chipped but still, we are sitting in Souq Al Bahar, and it is supposed to be a higher quality experience.
For starters we went with Vine Leaves, Tabbouleh and Hommos Beiruty.
While serving the starters the server brought a little rectangle plate which had some spices, sesame seeds and added the table’s oil on top of it. An observation I had was the quantity was a little smaller than I expected to be honest.
The vine leaves for instance came in a little bowl with 3 pieces laid on top of potato. The vine leaves wasn’t bad, vinegary and fresh, the stuffing was nice as well, rice wasn’t overcooked or chewy.
The Tabbouleh was fresh and the greens seemed all cut freshly and was still very crisp. The lemon made it very zesty and nice on the taste buds.
It was the first time I order hommos done in the Beiruty style. Essentially was ordinary hommos with pine nuts, cuts of greens and other random stuff.. It isn’t bad but I guess I just prefer the plan hommos.
It has a few pieces of circular bread that was a little hard, but warm, nice and thick. It didn’t have a real flavor or anything but wasn’t bad. On the bottom there was a packet of ordinary Lebanese bread.
As far as the main meal goes, we ordered a Mixed Combo Platter
Continuing with the “lesser quantity than similar restaurants” theme, the mixed combo platter came with 2 skewers of Shesh Tawooq (Marinated chicken cubes), Meat Kebab (Marinated meat cubes), Kofta (Minced meat on a skewer) and on the side garlic paste, light yogurt and two pieces of bread with a spicy sauce and onions. The platter’s garnish was essentially a grilled onion (a tiny one) and a grilled tomato (which wasn’t really grilled)
The Shesh Tawooq was really good, marinated well, grilled really well and still juicy. The Meat Kebabs were alright, marinated but a bit chewy. The loveliest was certainly the Kofta, it was very juicy, fresh tasting and delicious with the taste of the greens added to the minced meat.
The light yogurt was a new addition to mixed grill platters but it was really nice and creamy. The garlic paste was light and not too strong either. The spiced up bread was tasty as it was toasted and a spicy on the inside. Essentially just bread with a little spicy paste and onions on the inside.
The Service: I haven’t spoken much about the service because there wasn’t much to talk about but this was not a bad thing. There wasn’t much going on really, servers were around going and coming, listened to calls and provided what was asked. It was very plain and simple. Nothing extra ordinary, but no real downfall to service either. It was quite alright.
The Value: 1 large bottle of water, 1 mixed combo platter, and the 3 starters came to about 240 Dhs (excluding any extras like shisha). I think it is a bit overpriced because although the quality of food was good, the quantity is lesser than other restaurants with similar pricing. Surely I am comparing it with restaurants in the same level and type of food. For example, where they served 3 vine leave pieces, a comparable place would serve 6 and where they served 2 skewers of each type, a comparable place would serve 3 skewers of each type, etc.
The Place: 6 / 10
The Service: 5 / 10
The Food: 6 / 10
Overall: 5.7 / 10
I would recommend Zahr El Laymoun only for a change from the usual and for its nice ambiance, but what I would really recommend is to look around, as there are many other nice restaurants within 5-10 minute walking radius with nicer food (of similar cuisine), better value and nicer views even!